Water Polo Canada's National Championship League
Water Polo Canada has gone through a major re-branding and re-programming to better deliver services to its athletes, coaches, officials, clubs and provincial sports organisations (PSO). One of the major outcomes of the re-branding was the creation of the National Championship League (NCL). The NCL was designed to bring the domestic club age group programs (14 and under, 16 and under, 19 and under, and Senior) under a country wide umbrella that promotes the development of the sport.
In the 16U and 19U categories, the NCL season runs from November to May and features both a regular season, and a playoff component. The regular season spans from November to April as the participating clubs play a series of games against the teams in their region. The regular season standings determine the playoff seedings. The first round of the playoffs is split between the Eastern and Western Conferences with first and second at each conference championship qualifying for the final stage, the National Finals in May.
The Senior category, also known as Major League Water Polo (MLWP) runs from December to early April and features a similar format to the 16U and 19U categories. The country is split into Eastern and Western conferences and the regular season conference standings determine who qualifies for the six team Senior National Championships, where the Canadian champions are crowned.
For the 14U category, each provincial association runs a league within their province that represents a regionalized version of the NCL. The top teams from each provincial league qualify for either the Eastern or Western National Championships depending on their region. The Eastern and Western National Championships are hosted by WPC in April/May of each year and determine the top 14U team in each half of the country.
The NCL has participating clubs in 6 provinces and over 15 cities across Canada. Over 600 NCL games are played each season.
Benefits of the National Championship League
Adopting an optimized competition calendar
- Staggered and lengthy competition season develops athletes, coaches & referees at all levels of play
- Coach and official education linked to competition
- Better coordination and communication between WPC, provinces and clubs
- Similar competition models to other team sports will help clubs with recruitment
- Better branding and marketability of the sport
- Partnerships with cities – sell and market water polo to the sport tourism industry
The creation of the NCL also means that Water Polo Canada will have three distinctive seasons for all age groups beginning at 14 and under:
• Season 1 – September to May: Club season, including regular season and playoffs/finals
• Season 2 – June and July: Provincial Team season
• Season 3 – July and August: National Team season
2016-2017 NCL Championship Dates
What’s been said about the new NCL:
“This is a watershed moment in the history of water polo in Canada.”
– David Hart, 4-time Olympic athlete and coach
“The National Club Championship games will be played over several months instead of 4 days.”
– John Csikos, former National Team Head Coach
“Gender-specific 14 and under National Championships will increase our membership overnight, as it did for us in Saskatchewan.”
– Cyril Dorgigné, Provincial Team Head Coach and Water Polo Saskatchewan Executive Director
“We can now develop athletes to meet the needs of international water polo and grow our sport here at home at the same time.”
– Nishant Damani, Mavericks Head Coach and Youth Boys National Team Assistant Coach
Stay informed regarding new developments
More information is made available regularly to participating and interested clubs. Please email Neil Trousdale, League Coordinator, for additional information.